Airlie Castle – Sandstone Grandeur
There is a popular ballad about Airlie Castle and its history, ‘The Bonnie Hoose o’Airlie’, that is still sung in Scotland. This fifteenth century Scottish castle of pink sandstone was bought by the Ogilvy family in 1432, presumably for its fine defensive position and became the official clan seat of the Ogilvies. The present Earl's younger brother, Angus Ogilvy, is the husband of Princess Alexandra. Airlie Castle stands on the 69,000 acre Airlie Estate which lies on the Southern side of the Angus Glens. Airlie Castle lies some nine miles to the northeast of Blairgowrie, in Perthshire
Airlie Castle is the official seat of the Earl of Airlie, the title being granted in 1639 to the Ogilvy family when James, the eighth Lord Ogilvy of Airlie became the first Earl of Airlie. The Earl of Argyll burnt the place to the ground in 1641, during the Bishops’ Wars. Airlie Castle lay neglected for over a century as after the burning the Ogilvy family moved to nearby Cortachy Castle on Airlie Estate.
In 1746 after the Jacobite Rebellion, King George II confiscated what was left of the charred Airlie Castle. The exiled Lord Airlie was allowed to return from Versailles only years later and he undertook the task of rebuilding the castle in the 1790’s. He arrived with a retinue of French masons and whimsically added a Georgian country house to the castle’s remains. Queen Mary was a frequent guest at Airlie when her close friend the Countess of Airlie.
The next significant change was made in late 1800s, when Blanche Airlie, decided to transform what was essentially a walled vegetable patch into an elaborate topiary garden. This garden is now the pride of the castle. David Ogilvy, the present Earl lets the castle out to visitors. Airlie Castle with its well laid out gardens today makes an ideal place for a family re-union, sporting break or to celebrate Christmas or Hogmanay in style.
There is an Ogilvie traditional folklore that the ghost of a drummer boy haunts Airlie Castle and can be heard beating his drum when an Earl of Airlie is about to die.